Nesting, a child-focused approach to co-parenting during separation and divorce, is gaining popularity, according to a recent podcast on WAMU American University radio. This trend has the kids staying in the family home, with the parents rotating in and out on a designated schedule.

“Home becomes the nest where the children stay and the parents are like birds; they swoop in and out,” said Ann Gold Buscho, licensed clinical psychologist, and author of The Parent’s Guide to Birdnesting: A Child-Centered Solution to Co-Parenting During Separation and Divorce. “The children learn there’s always a parent on duty. It's a comfort to them not to have to leave their dog or keep track of their stuff in two places. There are many ways for a parent to set this up, depending on how much contact they want.”

The podcast asserted that the approach helps to provide stability for children during a time of major change, when children are more prone to developing behavioral health issues, from anxiety to depression. Nesting, as a softer start to divorce, may minimize disruption, particularly with younger children.

Beth Behrendt, author of “Nesting After Divorce: Co-Parenting in the Family Home” has nested with her ex-husband and their kids for the past nine years. “It was a lightbulb moment to me because they wouldn’t have their life upended because of our choice,” she said. “We had ours set up by an attorney. The other parent was not allowed to enter the house without prior approval. Finances were spelled out. We set expectations such as having the kids’ laundry done and food in the house when we switched. Initially, we shared an apartment though we never lived there together. We did five days on at the house, five days off at the apartment.”

It may be difficult to afford a second residence for each spouse, noted the experts interviewed on the podcast. In one case, a partner stayed with her mother. In another, they remained in the duplex and occupied different floors. The hand-off between parents was important to update on all that had happened, so good communication is key. The podcast cautioned, though, that it is not for everyone: some separated and divorced parents are so overwhelmed by emotions that it can be hard to nest, and that sadness, anger, and fear can prevent effective communication and cooperation.

There are many complex issues that can come into play during divorce. If you are facing one, arm yourself with some of the most experienced divorce lawyers in Pennsylvania. Contact the experienced Bucks County family law attorneys of Williams Family Law at 215-340-2207 or email